Donald Trump has more than his share of legal woes, but one case may be more damning than the rest: the one about him knowingly mishandling classified government documents. It’s a serious crime, and the big guy hasn’t exactly been helping his case. The public has heard talk about a tape from 2021 in which he blurts out that he knows he can no longer declassify classified materials — i.e., what is possibly a smoking gun. But now they can hear it themselves.
The Trump audio:
"See as president I could have declassified it. Now I can't, you know, but this is still a secret."
"Now we have a problem," a staffer responds. pic.twitter.com/ftNqOTnfZn
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) June 27, 2023
On Monday, CNN revealed they had obtained the audio of the meeting, which was between him, staffers — and, as it happens, the authors of an autobiography of former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Were any of these people certified to see the documents Trump mentions in the audio? Probably not. But now the public can hear him being all cavalier while talking about classified documents while he presumably shuffles them loudly.
“This is secret information. Look, look at this,” Trump can be heard saying about papers he should have left back in D.C. “See as president I could have declassified it,” he added. “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
Trump clearly trusted the people in the room, including journalists writing a book and wielding a recorder, would keep shtum about him breaking the law. Alas.
At another point, Trump made wild and inaccurate claims about his former rival, Hillary Clinton. “Hillary would print that out all the time, you know. Her private emails,” he claimed. He then joked that she would send them to Anthony Weiner, who he called a “pervert.”
In other words, it’s yet another case of someone in today’s GOP engaging in projection, the art of accusing someone else of the behavior you yourself are doing or will do. Indeed, it turns out that one of Trump’s old rally go-tos — getting the crowd to chant “lock her up” about Hillary — could play a key role in the trial that may deposit him in the clink.